His demeanor bespoke an ominous decision in the works. No one on the jury looked at defendant, an accused repeat sexual offender on trial for his fifth time. The jury, indeed, no one in the courtroom other than the accused, the judge, and the attorneys knew about about the serial accusations. He had always beaten the rap, mostly because the harassment and fear of retribution of the accusers had limited their willingness to testify.
This trial seemed different from the beginning. The past mistrials and acquittals were never mentioned in court, but somehow the look on the jury foreman’s face said they knew. Maybe not knew about the others, but they knew about this case.
Witnesses, yes, multiple, testified to seeing the accused following the young woman into her apartment building…and then leaving shortly before a neighbor found the woman bruised and crying in the stairway.
Judge Franklin was known as an easy magistrate. He often gave light sentences, believing in second chances rather than lifetime incarceration. But his face this time was different. Perhaps it was the surveillance video set up by the building security detail. Perhaps the willingness of the victim to speak out in the face of pressure to remain quiet.
“We the jury,” said the foreman. And it was over. One predator off the streets for good.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book on Abraham Lincoln is due out in 2017.